Reps summon Buratai over alleged forceful land acquisition

The House of Representatives has summoned the Chief of Army Staff ( COAS ), Lt. Gen. Yusuf  Buratai over alleged unlawful  appropriation of hectares of land belonging to the people of Ovwie Kingdom in Delta State.

The manager of the Nigerian Army Property Ltd was also ordered by the House to appear on 30th January, 2018 over the same issue.

The Nigerian Army was alleged to have in 1974  appropriated 1,877 hectares of land that was later increased to 2,000 and later to 5,000 in 1994 to build a barrack in Effurun, Delta State.

The invitation of the COAS followed the reluctance of the representative of the Nigerian Army at Public Petition Committee hearing on Tuesday to supply information requested by the Committee on the issue.

At the commencement of the hearing, Major Daniel Ehichoya  told the Committee that the the NA would not comment on the matter since it was before a court of law.

Besides, he claimed that the petitioner had presented a counter claim  at the court for the discontinuation of development on the land.

He said he would not make any comment on the issue, adding that the Army’s response to whatever question that might arose from the sitting was contained in a  writen presentation earlier made  to the Committee.

When asked to present the counter claim of the petitioner,  the Army Major also declined.

When the Committee also asked him to avail it the name of the manager of  the Army Property, who  was directly involved in the case, Ehichoya also declined.

At this point, Committee Chairman Uzoma Nkem-Abonta educated the Army representative that the parliament was constitutionally empowered to make the request, adding that matter before the court can also be discussed in the parliament to the extent that it will not affect the judgment.

Nkem-Abonta told the Army representative that he should not force the Committee to request the Nigerian Army  not to allow him represent it before the Committee anymore.

The Committee expressed shock that the Nigerian Army could mandate three Generals to sell the said land on its behalf, while mandating stoppage of  all ongoing  developments on the land pending the conclusion of the issue.

“You can’t be insulting the Nigerian Parliament,  you are serving Nigeria and we are doing the same here.

“Don’t take our requests  personal, these are the same Nigerians you are protecting  but if you are hiding all these requests from us, it means you have no stand,” Nkem-Abonta said.

The Army representative apologised and presented the Committee with  copies of its requests.

The Army was also asked to appear with the land titles as well as details of sales and the utilization of what it   generated from the sale.

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